The Farmers’ Almanac long-range forecast says that the Prairies are in for a potentially cold winter, and we know for local families, that can make trips and outings more of an obstacle than an adventure. This means that making healthy and active choices a priority becomes more vital as the weather continues to prove more challenging to do so.
The Calgary Catholic School District (CCSD) promotes healthy choices in our schools as proper nutrition is vital for growth, development, learning, and activity in our students. Children spend a large part of their day at school where they’re exposed to a variety of influences when it comes to food choices. These choices are defined as foods that are low in added fat, sugar, salt and/or caffeine, and higher in vitamins, minerals and/or fibre, and fall within at least one of the four food groups as outlined in Eating Well with Canada’s Food Guide.
To support healthy choices at home, pack nutritious, hearty lunches and snacks to help your child avoid trips to the vending machine during school hours. Making homemade soups and stews to send in your child’s lunch bag are excellent ways of ‘hiding’ vegetables for picky eaters, and soups and stews also provide a nice warm meal on those bitterly cold days. Sending your children to school with reusable water bottles is also an easy and effective way to keep kids hydrated throughout the school day. Every system in our body depends on water and for kids, having a refillable water bottle on hand will help remind them to continue drinking water during their classes.
CCSD also promotes active living for students, which means moving, getting outdoors, and exploring in order to reduce sedentary behavior whenever possible. Increased sedentary behavior (activities that take little to no physical effort) is becoming a real health concern in our digitally-driven world. For students, sedentary behavior can include: the bus commute to school, sitting at desks for long periods of time while in class, watching TV and playing video games, or little motion while using hand-held devices. That is a lot of sitting! The problem with too much sedentary behavior is that over time, it can affect overall health in a negative way.
Some activities that you and your child can do together to reduce sedentary behavior in the winter months include taking short, active breaks indoors. When studying, reading, or watching TV, encourage your child to take breaks every hour for a quick walk around the house. Or better yet, take a walk around the block if the temperature permits. Encourage outdoor play whenever possible (while exercising caution with winter temperatures). Outdoor play helps build healthy bodies and healthy minds.
Interacting with nature and other children while playing outdoors:
Here are some tips to encourage outdoor play in the colder months:
By starting good habits now and maintaining good habits throughout the winter months, your child can learn and grow making healthy choices, both with you and independently through their school years and into adulthood.
To learn more about the Calgary Catholic School District, visit cssd.ab.ca.
Calgary’s Child Magazine © 2017 Calgary’s Child